Sir John Major, the Prime Minister from 1990 until 1997, has called for MPs to be offered a free vote on the final Brexit deal. The former Conservative leader said that he feared that the country would be economically worse off and that the poorest regions may be hit the worst.
“Our own Government has assessed our post-Brexit position upon three separate criteria: that we stay in the Single Market; or reach a trade deal with Europe; or fail to do so. Each option shows us to be worse off: and disastrously so with no trade deal at all. And the poorest regions will be hurt the most.
If, as negotiations proceed, this analysis appears to be correct, that cannot be brushed aside. I know of no precedent for any Government enacting a policy that will make both our country and our people poorer. Once that is apparent, the Government must change course”.
Referring to the current economic situation he added:
“The UK has been at the very top of European growth. We are now the laggard at the bottom. We have become the slowest of the world’s big economies, even before we surrender the familiar advantages of the Single Market”.
Talking about a solution to the division, Major added:
“It is already agreed that Parliament must pass legislation giving effect to the deal. A “meaningful vote” has been promised. This must be a decisive vote, in which Parliament can accept or reject the final outcome; or send the negotiators back to seek improvements; or order a referendum. That is what Parliamentary sovereignty means.
But, to minimise divisions in our country – and between and within the political parties – I believe the Government should take a brave and bold decision. They should invite Parliament to accept or reject the final outcome on a free vote”.